“O’s Xtra” to provide pregame and postgame coverage throughout postseason

Orioles AL East champs

Postseason baseball is an exciting time for any baseball fan. And if you’re an Orioles fan, it’s especially thrilling this season. But with high-stakes baseball also comes national broadcasts and the absence of familiarity from the broadcast crew you’ve spent the last seven months with.

Fear not, Birdland. Your favorite MASN broadcasters aren’t going anywhere in October. They’ll be right alongside the team, bringing you hour-long “O’s Xtra Postseason” shows before first pitch and immediately following every playoff game on MASN.

Each show throughout the O’s October run will provide expert analysis, exclusive player interviews, behind-the-scenes looks and so much more! You won’t find this kind of local, dedicated coverage anywhere else but on “O’s Xtra Postseason” on MASN.

We’ll be updating our coverage here as details are confirmed, but here’s when you can expect to watch “O’s Xtra Postseason” on MASN in October:

Saturday, Oct. 7
ALDS Game 1: Orioles vs. Rangers at 1:03 p.m. on FS1
“O’s Xtra” pregame: Noon on MASN
“O’s Xtra” postgame: Immediately following game on MASN

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Hot hitting leads to cool celebrations and even colder cash

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The Orioles are continuing March and April’s hit parade this May with a smattering of taters up and down the lineup, and the slugging performances have kept Mr. Splash busy at Camden Yards. But as the fans were cooling down in the Bird Bath Splash Zone, the excitement was also heating up for the Orioles’ 50th home run of the season, all due to the Maryland Lottery’s Home Run Riches Contestant of the Game Promotion

When would it happen? Who would hit it? And who would be the Lottery’s Contestant of the Game at the time? Those questions have been on the minds of Orioles fans and Lottery players alike with each Orioles home run because when the team’s 50th homer was hit, someone was going to win a $50,000 prize!

The answers to these questions came on May 16 during the second game of the Orioles’ series against the Los Angeles Angels when two Ryans — O’Hearn and Mountcastle — went yard, hitting the 50 home run mark and winning Shady Side, Md. resident Barbara Phelps Anderson a total of $51,500!

In the 2023 campaign, the Birds have hit 53 HRs, winning the Lottery’s Home Run Riches Contestants of the Game $98,500. Contestants of the Game are drawn monthly, and the winners for the 24 games in June will be selected on May 23. The deadline to be part of that drawing is 11:59 p.m. on May 22.

The Maryland Lottery selects a Contestant of the Game for each of the Orioles’ 162 regular season games. Each winner receives $500 for being picked and is designated as the Contestant of the Game for an upcoming Orioles matchup. They’ll also win an additional $500 for each home run the Orioles hit during their designated game. 

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Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodríguez usher in a new era of baseball

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There isn’t much of a question about who will win the American League Rookie of the Year. Julio Rodríguez, Adley Rutschman and Steven Kwan were named the three finalists, with Rodríguez firmly cemented as the favorite. 

Rodríguez mashed 28 home runs, 25 doubles and stole 25 bases while accumulating a 6.0 WAR, according to baseball-reference.com. The center fielder also ranked in the 90th percentile or better in a number of important statistical categories, including average exit velocity, barrel percentage and sprint speed, according to baseballsavant.mlb.com.

Despite Rodríguez’s dominance, Rutschman still has a case for the award, albeit not an incredibly strong one. Playing in 19 fewer games than Rodríguez, the catcher’s counting stats fall short. Thirteen home runs and a 5.2 bWAR are impressive numbers, but don’t encapsulate the value that the rookie brought. 

If you were making the case for Adley Rutschman to win the Rookie of the Year award, you wouldn’t just point to the numbers. You would point to the fact that after Rutschman’s debut on May 21, the Orioles went 67-55. Just one year removed from losing 110 games, the O’s found themselves in a playoff race, thanks in large part to their rookie catcher. 

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MASN Orioles Podcast predicts who the O's will sign in free agency

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WATCH THE MASN ALL ACCESS PODCAST 

The Baltimore Orioles are in uncharted territory. 

When Mike Elias was hired in November 2018, the Orioles were in full rebuild mode. The O’s had already parted ways with Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zack Britton, Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day.

Offseasons under Elias have been approached in similar ways: Sign low-cost veterans that can help the team in the short-term and hope they can be flipped for prospects at the deadline. That approach, among other things, led to the organization’s No. 1 farm system ranking, and allowed the Orioles to find diamonds in the rough through waiver claims, trades and small-money signings. 

Elias’ patient approach culminated in a 2022 season in which the Orioles vastly out-performed expectations, racking up 83 wins and finishing just three games out of the final American League Wild Card spot.

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Rally comes up short in 4-3 loss to Red Sox (updated)

Rally comes up short in 4-3 loss to Red Sox (updated)

Unlike airline points, runs don’t carry over.

If they did, the Orioles could’ve used a few Saturday. After exploding for 15 runs in a series opening win Friday, the O’s bats went quiet in a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox in front of 34,939 on Saturday.

As has too often been the case recently, the offense waited too long to get going, failing to score off of Michael Wacha in the starter’s 5 ⅔ innings of work for Boston. A seventh-inning rally netted the Orioles just two runs, not enough to overcome what was then a 3-0 deficit.

"We had a tough time getting a rally going against (Wacha)," said manager Brandon Hyde after the game. "Good to see us make a run late like usual but just came up a run short today."

Baserunners were hard to come by for the Orioles, who collected just one walk and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

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Hyde's resilient group is becoming harder to sink

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Leaning against the dugout wall, Brandon Hyde chomped his pink bubblegum, one hand on his hip, his eyes filled with the kind of dissatisfaction Orioles fans were used to seeing from their manager in each of his previous three seasons.

Hyde’s bullpen was floundering. His defense was breaking down. A six-run lead was slipping away like air from a balloon.

But this wasn’t like old times.

After a nightmarish top of the fifth inning for the Orioles, in which two errors were committed and five runs were scored, the team settled down, refocused and followed up with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. 

There would be no collapse. The O’s would cruise through the final four innings of Friday’s 15-10 win over the Red Sox.

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Bullpen unravels, offense stagnates in 6-1 loss to Blue Jays (updated)

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TORONTO - Brandon Hyde surely didn’t want to make two treks to the mound in the seventh inning. But he had little choice.

Relievers Joey Krehbiel and Cionel Pérez had allowed five consecutive batters to reach base, and the game that had seemed winnable moments ago was slipping away at a frightening pace.

After starter Austin Voth befuddled the Blue Jays over six shutout innings, the Orioles bullpen crumbled in a 6-1 loss in the series finale Wednesday afternoon in Toronto.

"You win two out of three, it’s tough to be disappointed," said Hyde of the three-game series. "You lose the third one after winning the first two, that’s when it’s disappointing. You split the first two and win the third, everyone’s celebrating. Happy with the series win, unhappy we couldn’t finish it off today."

Orioles relievers had combined to throw 6 ⅓ scoreless innings through the first two games of the series. But the group came crashing back down to earth in a disastrous seventh inning that saw three pitchers used, eight Blue Jays reach base and six runs come across the plate.

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O's young starters learning prudence when attacking opposing lineups

O's young starters learning prudence when attacking opposing lineups

TORONTO - The most important individual result from Dean Kremer’s stellar start against the Blue Jays on Tuesday wasn’t one of his six strikeouts. Nor was it a bases-loaded double play ball off the bat of Matt Chapman in the third inning.

It was the plate appearance before that, a five-pitch walk to Alejandro Kirk that set up that inning-ending double play. It was the only free pass issued by Kremer all night.

It showed the young righty knew who to attack and who to avoid, a recent point of emphasis from manager Brandon Hyde. 

“A handful of starts ago (Hyde) brought a couple of us starters into the office (to say), ‘Ok, where do we go from here now?’” said Kremer after tossing seven innings of two-run ball last night. “(It’s) another stepping stone in our development. We had a meeting about that, kind of realizing situation and who’s at the plate, where you can attack the lineup you’re facing.”

With the Orioles trailing by two runs, a base empty and one out, Kremer pitched around Kirk, avoiding the All-Star catcher in favor of Chapman, who hasn’t hit righties as well this season and is batting just .152 in the month of August.

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Unflappable Orioles come back to beat Blue Jays 4-2 (updated)

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TORONTO - Alek Manoah was feeling himself.

The imposing righty skipped off the mound, his 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame floating over the infield grass. He had just picked up his seventh strikeout by getting Ramón Urías swinging on a fastball up and in, capping off his fourth consecutive shutout inning to open the game.

Things were going well.

By the end of his evening, Manoah was plodding slowly toward the third base dugout, having surrendered a two-run lead, while still responsible for the two runners on base in a brutal sixth inning.

Things had gone poorly.

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McKenna continues to contribute as fourth outfielder, "ultimate teammate"

McKenna continues to contribute as fourth outfielder, "ultimate teammate"

TORONTO - Speed. Positional versatility. Microwavable offense. These are the qualities teams usually seek in a fourth outfielder.

Ryan McKenna certainly checks all those boxes. But what has made the 25-year-old such a crucial component of an Orioles team that sits just 1 ½ games out of a wild card spot has been the outfielder’s eagerness to deliver anytime, anywhere.

“When he’s not in the lineup, he’s always got his helmet ready, he’s got his glove ready, he understands his role when he’s not in there, and he’s following along,” said manager Brandon Hyde before Tuesday’s game. “He’s supporting the whole time he’s in the dugout.

“You pull for guys like that. You pull for ultimate teammates like that.”

McKenna’s contributions have become especially important as everyday outfielder Austin Hays has struggled. Hays is out of the lineup Tuesday against the Blue Jays, while McKenna, who collected the first three-hit game of his career last night, gets the start in right field.

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Orioles leave Blue Jays in the dust with 7-3 win (updated)

Orioles leave Blue Jays in the dust with 7-3 win (updated)

TORONTO - It was an All-Star play by an All-Star shortstop.

With two runners on and the infield in, Bo Bichette, with his toes on the infield grass, backhanded a 94-mph one-hopper. He then fired an off-balance throw to catcher Danny Jansen, who barely had to move his glove to apply the tag on the runner coming home. The entire whirlwind exchange took about two seconds.

It didn’t matter. Jorge Mateo scored anyway. Bichette was helpless to stop it.

It was the kind of game-tilting speed that the Orioles have used to their advantage all season, and they broke it out again in a 7-3 win over the Blue Jays.

“We run on contact a lot, and we do because we have some team speed,” Brandon Hyde said after the game. “For him to be able to force a throw there, we’ve done it a lot this year. Mateo’s speed is off the charts, obviously, and it was a huge play.”

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With much to gain in Toronto, Mountcastle won't leave O's shorthanded

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TORONTO - Much like the American League wild card standings entering Monday night, the glove on Ryan Mountcastle’s left hand tonight will be tight. Perhaps uncomfortably so.

But with so much riding on the Orioles’ three-game series in Toronto, the 25-year-old will “jam” the mitt on and get back on the field. 

The Orioles kept Mountcastle out of Sunday’s lineup in St. Petersburg, Fla., opting for fellow righty Tyler Nevin. The day off made a massive difference, said Brandon Hyde.

“I think that the entire day (Sunday) of getting some rest on that hand was beneficial,” Hyde said in the visitors dugout before batting practice. “He spent the majority of the day getting treatment on it yesterday and then today as well. He responded pretty well and is feeling a lot better, so he’s back in there.”

Mountcastle was frustrated he had to miss the series finale against Tampa Bay. But with the Blue Jays in control of the top wild card berth and the Orioles just 1 ½ games out of the final spot, he’s playing through some pain in the hopes of helping the team gain some ground.

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Termarr Johnson if O’s draft him No. 1: “Baltimore gets a ring in a couple years”

Termarr Johnson Draft Combine

The Orioles will be picking first overall in the MLB Draft for the third time in the organization’s history on Sunday. One option with the No. 1 overall pick is Georgia high school infielder Termarr Johnson. 

“I don’t know too much about what’s gonna happen in the next couple days, but it’d mean a lot to me," Johnson said about the possibility of going No. 1. “Being selected with the Baltimore Orioles means that, you know, Baltimore gets a ring in a couple years.”

Johnson is rated as the No. 4 prospect in this year’s draft class, according to MLB Pipeline. Most scouts and draft experts rave about Johnson’s advanced bat for an 18-year-old, including Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo. 

“He’s easily the best high school hitter that I’ve seen,” Collazo said. “It’s a special, special bat.”

Baseball America ranked Johnson the No. 1 high school baseball player in the country last spring after he hit .417 with nine home runs, 23 stolen bases, eight doubles and five triples for Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta. 

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O's staying in games, thanks to great pitching, defense

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SEATTLE - With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Julio Rodríguez sent a scorcher back up the middle on a two-strike count. The ball ricocheted off pitcher Félix Bautista, and Ryan Mountcastle nearly made a great play to end the inning. 

Instead, the ball got away from Mountcastle, Rodríguez was safe at first, and Jesse Winker drove two runners home in the very next at-bat. Had Rodríguez’s flukey single been an out, the Orioles and Mariners would’ve been knotted at 0-0 entering the top of the ninth. 

Of course, you’re not going to win very many baseball games recording just one hit, which was all the O’s offense was able to muster last night. But the combination of Dean Kremer, Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista kept Baltimore firmly in the ballgame until the very end. 

“We’re pitching better, they’re keeping us in games. The starting pitching has done a great job,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Dean Kremer was incredible last night, Tyler Wells was awesome the day before … Our bullpen guys have done a great job of keeping the game right there.” 

You would have to go back to June 13, an 11-1 loss to the Blue Jays, to find a game in which the Orioles truly felt out of it. Every other game since then, a 14-game stretch, has either been a Baltimore victory or a loss in which the O’s fell by three runs or fewer. 

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O's look to stay hot with Wells, plus Rutschman's homecoming

GettyImages-1402356975 Tyler Wells in orange jersey

Visiting the Mariners on May 5, 2021, John Means threw nine hitless innings, striking out 12 in the process. 

“We were talking on the way here, last time we were here it was a pretty cool moment,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Great story, and a really, really special day.”

The O’s current starting staff does not include their ace, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April. 

Bruce Zimmermann isn’t in the rotation either. After posting a 2.72 ERA in his first seven starts of the season, the lefty is down in Triple-A Norfolk working on returning to that form. 

The O’s No. 10 prospect, Kyle Bradish, was placed on the 15-day injured list on Friday. Another option off the board. 

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Defense backs bullpen in impressive 2-1 win (updated)

Defense backs bullpen in impressive 2-1 win (updated)

There’s nothing dads love more than fundamentals. They preach it in Little League. They drill it on empty fields on Saturday afternoons. 

There were probably plenty of beaming fathers in the Baltimore area pointing at their televisions Sunday, turning to their sons or daughters, and saying, “See? Fundamentals.”

The Orioles (30-38) played a clean, fundamental game and turned several phenomenal defensive plays to help Brandon Hyde navigate an unwelcome bullpen game and beat the Rays 2-1 on Father’s Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

It started in the top of the second inning, when a picture-perfect relay from right fielder Ryan McKenna to second baseman Rougned Odor to catcher Adley Rutschman turned a Vidal Bruján single into an inning-ending tag play. The Orioles, already leading 1-0 on a first-inning home run by Anthony Santander, kept the Rays off the scoreboard.

It continued in the sixth, when Odor scooped a Taylor Walls grounder from the dirt and underhand lobbed it to first baseman Ryan Mountcastle to get Mike Baumann out of a jam. Another scoreless frame, and a 2-1 lead preserved.

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Lyles out with stomach virus, O's going with bullpen game

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The Orioles’ innings eater won’t be eating much today.

Jordan Lyles was scratched from his scheduled start against the Rays this afternoon due to a stomach virus, manager Brandon Hyde told the media before Sunday’s game. Reliever Austin Voth will start in Lyles’ stead, but isn’t expected to go more than a couple innings.

“We found out at about 7:30, 8 o’clock this morning,” said Hyde. “With the off-day tomorrow, that’s the one positive thing of this is that we do have a day off tomorrow, so I can use a lot of bullpen guys today and give them a day off tomorrow.”

Lyles hasn’t missed a turn in the rotation yet this season, making 13 starts and compiling a 5.10 ERA as Hyde’s veteran workhorse.

Voth, who was claimed off waivers from the Nationals on June 7, has pitched only 3 ⅓ innings with the Orioles, all in relief, surrendering two runs and striking out three. The 29-year-old righty started 22 games over five seasons in Washington.

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O's score 10, leave Kansas City with series split (updated)

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KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander rocked back on his left foot, pausing to admire his work.

When you hit a ball 455 feet into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium, you’re allowed a little time to bask.

Santander’s solo splashdown in the first inning of Sunday’s game was the first of three home runs for the Orioles and set the tone for the team’s marathon 10-7 win over the Royals (20-39).

The Orioles (26-35) hit 850 more feet worth of homers in the second, getting back-to-back shots from Ryan Mountcastle and Rougned Odor to open the inning and push the lead to 3-0. But the barrage didn’t end there, as the O’s scored two more in the inning on RBI singles from Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays off Kansas City starter Brad Keller.

“We swung the bat good all day," said manager Brandon Hyde after the win. "We had 15 hits, had really good at-bats, started early, which is great to see. We haven’t done that a ton.”

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Kyle Stowers to join Orioles taxi squad on road trip

hyde contemplating

KANSAS CITY - A shock of bright blonde hair shone in the Orioles clubhouse this morning. 

Kyle Stowers is hard to miss.

The Orioles’ No. 8 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, will join the taxi squad when the team heads north of the border to play the Blue Jays this week.

“He’s having a good year at Triple-A,” manager Brandon Hyde said in Kauffman Stadium’s away dugout before Sunday's game. “It’s a loose, left-handed swing. He’s got huge power. I like the way he plays defense, he can play three defensive spots in the outfield, left-handed bat."

A 2019 second-round pick out of Stanford University, Stowers is hitting .253 with 12 home runs and a .901 OPS in 49 games with Triple-A Norfolk this year. The 24-year-old led all Orioles minor leaguers with 27 homers in 2021.

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O's bats reheat in 6-4 win over Royals (updated)

McKenna Mullins Hays five orange away

KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander appeared almost reluctant to don the Orioles’ home run chain Friday night.

After sneaking a meaningless solo home run inside Kauffman Stadium’s right field foul pole in the ninth inning of an 8-1 loss, Santander accepted the plastic chain with all the gravitas of a weathered monarch.

Tyler Nevin showed no such hesitancy Saturday. In fact, he welcomed it, beckoning Austin Hays to bestow the chain upon him after crushing a three-run, go-ahead homer to dead center field in the sixth inning of a 6-4 win over the Royals.

The honor was richly deserved.

Nevin’s 425-foot longball gave the Orioles their first lead since the third inning of Thursday’s series opener. Before the homer, the O’s had been outscored 18-7 in the first two-and-a-half games of their four-game series in Kansas City. 

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